4 Things You Can Do To Help The Monarchs

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4 Things You Can Do To Help The Monarchs
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Monarch butterflies have experienced heavy population losses through a combination of causes. Here are some simple things that you can do.

1. Plant Milkweed (And Other “Butterfly Plants”): To ensure the population viability of monarchs, the best management approach is to restore the natural habitat and improving the already present habitat. The eastern North American migratory population of monarchs has decreased due to the decline in the host plants of milkweed. [1] In addition to native host milkweed plants for monarchs, it is important to plant nectar-rich plants for adult monarchs as they are dependent on nectar plants for spring food, summer breeding, and fall migrations.

2. Create a Monarch waystation: Monarch waystations can provide habitat to migrating monarch butterflies including food, shelter, and water. Using the public lands and even general public places for growing milkweed plants, nectar plants and locally adapted seeds combined with backyard gardens can create critical habitat for monarchs. [2]

3. Avoid Pesticides: Super important of course. The science is, as they say, settled: Monarch butterflies are going through a long-term population decline due to multiple factors including exposure to pesticides. Host milkweed plants are exposed to non-target pesticides as they often grow near the agricultural fields. The science is challenging because the amounts that affect the insect populations are miniscule, measured in nanograms. A study has found that monarch caterpillars consume a diversity of pesticides in their diet, with 14 pesticides detected on milkweed plants. [3] Pesticide exposure can be avoided by isolating the milkweed patches away from cropland.

4. Spread the Word: “Educate others about the importance of monarch conservation and what they can do to help.
Support conservation organizations to help create habitats and share their educational materials.” Monarch butterflies can be helped by studying, sharing information, educating and giving awareness to the people regarding their importance to the environment. Nature-based special interest groups can encourage people to take action in support of the conservation of monarch butterflies. [4]

Learn More:

Monarch Butterfly Endangered Species Act Listing “Found Warranted” By US Fish And Wildlife Service, But Resources Are Insufficient For Further Actions

References:

[1] Knight, S.M., et al., Strategic mowing of roadside milkweeds increases monarch butterfly oviposition. Global Ecology and Conservation, 2019. 19: p. e00678. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989419301271

[2] Landis, T.D., Monarch waystations: propagating native plants to create travel corridors for migrating monarch butterflies. Native Plants Journal, 2014. 15(1): p. 5-16. http://npj.uwpress.org/content/15/1/5.short

[3] Olaya Arenas, P.A., PESTICIDE EXPOSURE RISK AND DEVELOPMENTAL CONSEQUENCES FOR MONARCH BUTTERFLIES IN AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES. 2019, Purdue University Graduate School. https://hammer.figshare.com/articles/thesis/PESTICIDE…/

[4] Lewandowski, E.J. and K.S. Oberhauser, Butterfly citizen scientists in the United States increase their engagement in conservation. Biological Conservation, 2017. 208: p. 106-112. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006320715300367

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